Kundra Says His Office Has Saved Taxpayers $3 Billion

The federal chief information officer told a Senate panel Tuesday that the Obama Administration's drive to make government IT projects more responsive to changes in technology and more reliant on private sector infrastructure had saved about $3 billion in its first five months.

Since introducing President Obama's 25-point implementation plan for reforming federal IT in December, CIO Vivek Kundra's office has reviewed 50 of the government's most troubled IT projects, canceling four and fundamentally reforming 11 others, Kundra told members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee's panel on federal financial management.

"The government needs to operate much more like a nimble startup," Kundra said, "instead of investing billions of dollars in multi-year procurements," that are often outdated by the time they're implemented.

The 25-point plan requires IT project managers to show significant gains for their agencies within six months. If not, they need to shut down or retool the projects.

Kundra's office so far has identified 75 government IT systems that are ripe to be moved to privately-owned data clouds, which will save money on infrastructure and maintenance, he said.

His office also has identified about 100 federal data centers that are likely to be closed. The 25-point plan requires shuttering 800 of the roughly 2,100 federal data centers nationwide by 2015.

Kundra told subcommittee chairman Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del, and ranking member Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., his office's greatest focus in the next six months will be an initiative to reform Congressional appropriating procedures to divvy up IT money at the agency level, rather than at the project level, which he said promotes unnecessary duplication.